Applying resin to printed images can be done either manually or via high end production systems that dispense the material in an automated way. For anyone looking to offer doming services, there are starter kits available in the market today that sell for as little as $300. The greatest challenge in the doming process, however, is determining how much resin to put into a product’s surface.
Doming sounds simple enough if you can consistently pour an exact volume of resin onto a label. The material flows to the edge of the label just as spilled water flows to the edge of the table and stops before dripping onto the floor. If there is too much water, the floor is going to get wet, but too little and the water never even reaches the edge of the table.
The process of doming can be as straightforward as mixing resin in a bottle and then applying the liquid plastic by hand onto a label. At first glance, it looks totally uncomplicated but it is quite a different story to dome labels repeatedly, and at a high quality. There are so many technical issues that need to be overcome for doming to be performed with consistency and in a way that produces great results– that it makes sense to outsource or partner with an experienced doming company.
Fully automated doming equipment is expensive, but the investment needed should not stop printers from offering doming services to their customers. In fact, some printers that offer domed labels do not own the equipment. They print the graphics and then send the labels or artwork to a doming company to complete the balance of the job. Full-service, doming companies not only have doming capability but also provide both printing and kiss-cutting services that enable them to take full responsibility of the entire production process.
In addition, legitimate doming companies also have access to new technology. For example, there is a new line of clear UV ink that restricts resin flow. Previously, doming could only be used on certain types of materials such as plastic, vinyl, and polyester. The reason for this is that these substrates have to be die-cut with a very clean edge to contain the resin within the decal or emblem through surface tension. With this new UV-curable ink, however, the doming resin can be contained over any shape or lettering through screen-printing two types of ink.
There are also flow stop inks in the market today that can be screen-printed on areas of a label or piece of artwork that need to be domed. This clear overprint prevents the doming resin from soaking through porous substrates, which effectively makes it possible to dome almost any type of printed material.
Outsourcing doming as a value-added service allows a printer to further monetize their existing customer base and go into new markets, without making any significant investment. All they have to do is print and then let their doming partner do the rest—that is, dome, cure, package, and ship.